this thing's incredible

This High-tech Mascara Took Care of My Raccoon Eyes, Once and for All

Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

I’ve suffered from mascara-induced raccoon eyes since I was in the fourth grade. It was my first ballet performance. My expertly applied stage makeup exhilarated my 10-year-old self, but come morning, I looked like a tiny monster.

This mascara mess would repeat itself in varying forms through my adulthood. Not wanting to just give up mascara, I tried many brands in search of one that would stay put, but also wash off easily with just a cleanser. I’ve experimented with Yves Saint Laurent’s Shocking (in the shower it left an inky residue under my eyes), Benefit’s They’re Real (made me look bright-eyed and put-together, but would roll down my face with any water contact, and I destroyed a lot of white towels), and then the waterproof mascara from Giorgio Armani (even after washing my face, my lashes still felt plasticky and heavy).

Then, by chance, I had to use up a gift card at Bluemercury and found the Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara. It was a “Beauty Expert’s Pick” and fulfilled my requirements of a jet-black mascara with a fat wand. (Mascara wands seem like one of those cases where bigger is actually better.) I was also intrigued by what the marketing spiel referred to as “24-hour tubular coverage.”

Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara tube - the Strategist mascara review
Courtesy of Trish McEvoy
Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara
$32 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Now, after two years and many repeat purchases, it’s that tubular technology that keeps me coming back again and again. This mascara is revolutionary in that it is not waterproof, but it also never inks under your eyes. How, you say? Well, the Lash Curling Mascara actually forms water-resistant tubes around your lashes — that’s the “tubular coverage” — making each strand super bold and long. Instead of simply brushing black goo on your lashes to highlight and then cement them into place, the lash-curling wand puts what I imagine to be tiny straws around each lash, keeping them separate and making them enviably bold.

There are other so-called tubing mascaras out there. Estée Lauder’s Double Wear, for example, or Clinique Lash Power. I asked a makeup artist who works at the Trish counter at Saks how she sells the Lash Curling Mascara. She said she goes with Trish because it can execute the “tubes” in one coat, whereas with others you have to apply, apply, apply.

Wearing it is great; washing it off is even better. With some warm water and cleanser, those tubes come off in featherlike strands, instead of oozing under your eyes. If you just gently run your fingers along your lashes, the tubes — which, don’t be alarmed, sort of look like lashes — slide right off and go down the drain. Raccoon eye is banished and your towels are saved.

Another “tubing mascara,” for under $20

Clinique Lash Power Mascara tube - the Strategist mascara review
Courtesy of Clinique.
Clinique Lash Power Mascara
$18 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Clinique’s “mascara with staying power” also gets high marks from beauty bloggers who like the way the polymers form around lashes, stay put, and slide off with face wash.

The blackest black Japanese mascara

Isehan Heroine Mascara
$10 at Amazon

After learning from a Japanese friend that American mascaras aren’t even considered truly black, writer Risa Needleman went on a quest to procure some Heroine mascara. It involved asking a Tokyo-bound male friend to hit the Japanese pharmacies until he found the blackest black mascara, which he did. Turns out it’s also on Amazon.

The best $5 mascara

Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
$5 at Ulta

“I’ve tried everything on my very short, stubbornly straight Asian lashes,” said writer Jinnie Lee. “The Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara from Essence, true to its name, dramatically plumps and intensifies my lashes in every single way — it lengthens, volumizes, lifts, and curls each tiny hair (without the use of a tool) — to the point where my eyes look more open, brighter, and more alert.”

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This Mascara Took Care of My Raccoon Eyes, Once and for All